Startup developing herpes, malaria vaccines raises $30M from Gates Foundation, others

Company name: Genocea Biosciences Inc.

Industry: Biotechnology.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Solution/product: The biotech startup has a proprietary technology to identify and use T-cell antigens to target large pathogens like HSV-2, pneumococcus, chlamydia and malaria.

Money raised: $30 million.

How it will be used: The funds will support two programs, one for a clinical stage vaccine candidate that aims to reduce the severity and frequency of clinical outbreaks associated with moderate-to-severe herpes simplex virus type 2; and the other a preclinical vaccine to prevent infections tied to streptococcus pneumoniae.

Investors: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CVF, LLC, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company invested in this round. Additional investors are all of Genocea’s existing investors — Polaris Venture Partners, Lux Capital, SR One, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Skyline Ventures, Cycad Group, Auriga Partners, MP Healthcare Ventures and Morningside.

Management team: Chip Clark, president and CEO; Seth Hetherington, chief medical officer; Robert E. Farrell Jr., vice president of finance and administration; Jessica Baker Flechtner, vice president of research; Paul Giannasca,vice president of development, Ravi Venkataramani, vice president of business development.

Market: HSV-2 triggers genital herpes. In the U.S. alone, 40 million to 60 million people are infected with HSV-2, according to the World Health Organization. Annually, there are 1 million  to 2 million new infections and 600,000 to 800,000 clinical cases.

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